My dad has always been a runner. I don’t know if that’s why I started loving it. I’ve been exposed to it for so long. He would normally train for marathons on his own. But once in a while when he would run at the college track, my mom and I would join. And I remember doing little runs, just trying to be like dad.
He used to run and win races in his younger years while he lived in Mexico. First place in the Guadalajara marathons. He moved to the states in his early 40s and tried out for the Olympics but missed by 4 seconds. Which is still pretty impressive considering his age at the time.
So exposure to a runners high started young. As my dad talked about his glory days. Still, I didn’t start running on my own until 7th or 8th grade.
My then history teacher, Mrs. McDonald would do other fun classes for the school such as dance and track. I joined the track team with a good childhood friend, Mary, from Hawaii. Her real name was actually Hokuatu. Anyway, she lived down my street and so it was easy for both of us to join.
Every other day after school we had practice. We ran around the school, inside and outside. We did sprints, warm ups, all kinds of running exercises.
Our first and only meet was at Mt. Sac. I honestly don’t even remember which race I did. I think it was either the 200 m or the 400 m.
It was a fun first experience with my fellow classmates and Mary.
I didn’t think much of it. Mary and I just randomly joined. My dad never really invested any time teaching me or running with me the way a coach would. I don’t think he gave it any thought.
Then, freshman year of high school whilst in PE class my gym teacher was impressed with my speed and eagerness to run. So he referred me to cross country.
It was there where I truly fell in love with running.
I mean, I guess I was already in love with running and I just didn’t really realize until I was forced to run those long distances.
I really had no long distance experience when I joined. And since I didn’t train with them over summer vacation or do any of the try outs, I had no idea what to expect.
On my first day running out on the streets everyone was getting ahead of me. I thought I was going to collapse. I was scared. And I saw a group of the runners stop for water so I finally did too. My best friend and her dad happened to walk by and I begged them to give me a ride back to school. I seriously thought I was going to quit. It was a rough first day which I couldn’t even handle. I was so grateful for my friend and her dad!
But luckily I kept at it.
The first week was probably the worst. Shin splints, blisters, complete body sourness. Being out of breath on my runs, my stomach burning. It was horrible!
But it was so worth it. The pain felt so good and so rewarding. I’ve never felt such happiness, such euphoria, it was a real runners high!
I’m not sure anyone can just become a runner. I guess you really have to want it, it has to make you happy. My dad and one of my brothers are the only ones in our family that like it. Love it. And I have four brothers and two sisters!
My husband tries to like it. I guess he wants to see what the big deal is. He even had to do long distance running when he was in the police academy. But he still hates it.
Running is hard enough, if you don’t like it, do something else. But if you want it, just go for it! Your body will adapt and eventually it will be easy. That happiness you feel, that’s why we run, you can’t do it and expect to love it if it’s not something you long for. We don’t run just to look a certain way or to be a health focused person. We run because we love it. You will never have runners high if it doesn’t make you happy.
But if you have this little nag in the back of your mind telling you to run, do it. It might not come naturally or fast but it eventually pays off.